In yesterday's Bloggle study I was led to address suffering that results from the sin in our lives, and I was plagued all day about the possibility that an innocent suffering individual would apply it to her siyuation and get confused, so I had decided in advance that I would address suffering from a second scriptural angle today, and lo and behold, my reading during my quiet time actually goes along with the scripture I had chosen in advance...hmmm...I wonder if God had a hand in that:) Beginning in John 9:1-3 As he[Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him," Rabbi, who sinned this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus,but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life," and then, Jesus preceded to heal the man my spitting on the ground to make mud that he applied to the man's eyes before asking him to go wash in the Pool of Saloam. Also, there is the story of Job in the book of Job where God is upfront in letting us know that, Job, like, Noah, yesterday, was a righteous man describing him as blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil Job 1:1, yet he suffered greatly, and in this case it appears it was a test of the depth of Job's commitment and love for God, so we see two more examples as to why suffering may occur in one's life (1) to glorify God and (2) to test the sincerity and depth of our love for God. One other scripture occurs to me here Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the Children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of child-birth right up to the present time, so, it is my opinion, based on these verses, that it is possible that our suffering can sometimes simply be the result of existing in a frustrated and moaning world;) I believe the greatest pearl of wisdom to be identified is not the accurate identification of the source of our suffering because what does that accomplish of use other than possibly some comfort, or in yesterday's case, possibly some behavioral remediation, but rather, in identifying the source of surviving as we suffer! That is most definitely where I discovered treasure in the midst of the suffering that has visited my life on different occassions, so let's go on a treasure hunt in Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. I'm pausing here before I go on because this first segment holds the treasure we seek in verse 1...hearing God's word and putting it into practice is what sustains us in the storms of life! I'm continuing on with the scripture because the next part describes the extent of the storm damage in the life of one who chooses to ignore what God has to say about life. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell with a great crash! See, same storm, different ending, and I can attest to the truth of these words because I am that first man[or,in this case, woman who survived the storm with Jesus as my foundation.
Now, after a terribly long introduction, let's get down to business on today's reading...Genesis 7, 8, & 9. In these chapters we read more of Noah's storm in which the rain literally came down and the streams actually did rise until the whole earth was flooded, and please, take note of how Noah survived. He had heeded the word of God in his life to the point of looking like a fool and building a ginormous boat in a time and place that offered no place for it to float! He loaded it full of stinky animals at God's direction whether it made sense to him or not, and when the time for his storm arrived, God had prepared him to survive, and when Noah's storm was over, Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma....Genesis 8:20-21 This blog is my altar after my storm, and it is my desire that the offerings that I present here create an aroma that is pleasing to the Lord! Next, the Lord introduced the rainbow, and I hope you will never look at one the same after reading this. In Genesis 9: 8-11 God makes a promise to Noah and the earth that he will never destroy the world by flood again, and he seals it with a rainbow...And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenent for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth... I challenge you to not only be reminded of this at the sign of a rainbow, but also, that what sustained Noah in the storm was the fact he had heard God's words and acted in accordance to them in preparation for the storm, so if you haven't already, button down the hatches...get into God's word and put what you read into practice!